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Zimmerman denies PED allegations in 1st public comments on issue

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Zimmerman denies PED allegations in 1st public comments on issue

With allegations of PED use and a defamation lawsuit filed as a result of them, there's no question this was a tough offseason for Ryan Zimmerman. 

He spoke publicly for the first time on the matter Tuesday morning, issuing a defense of his character, a denial of the charges and an explanation of the suit against Al-Jazeera America. He talked for nearly a half-an-hour, at times showing emotion as he detailed the effects the entire saga has had on him and his family.

"I’ve spent my whole career, my whole life really doing things the right way, so you’re shocked," Zimmerman said of when he first heard of the charges in December.

"It’s one of those things where you don’t really have an answer. You don’t know why or how this happened. Then, you turn from being shocked to being angry and frustrated. The biggest thing that frustrated me or angered me was not so much what you guys think or baseball players think, but I spend a lot of time I think in the community in D.C. with kids and families and things like that. To think that, I guess my integrity and the person that I really am is questioned by someone who has never met me, doesn’t know what I’m about. I think that was probably the hardest part."

Zimmerman's denial was strong and he suggested he may need to cut ties with longtime trainer Jason Riley, depending on the findings of MLB's investigation.

"None of that stuff is true. I’ve never done any of that. I’ve never thought about doing any of that. It’s a tough spot. You do everything the right way. You work. You think something like this will never happen, and then, for some reason, it does," he said.

"I think Jason Riley is the reason that I was involved in this. Jason is a trainer I’ve worked with for years. His reputation is one of, if not the cleanest reputation trainers have. I can’t speak for what happens with who he’s involved with, things like that... I would assume that that’s the link. It’s kind of reckless. A lot of people have worked with trainers and things like that. It’s hard to just throw peoples’ names out there without really having any sort of proof.”

Zimmerman was notified in early December when a letter was sent to his agent Brodie Van Wagenen. He got a phone call and the two at first didn't know what to think. Van Wagenen has been Zimmerman's agent for the entirety of his 11-year MLB career and they are very close.

"It was a conversation we thought we’d never have to have. But that stuff happens, and from there we took the steps to get where we’re at today," Zimmerman said.

Those steps included a lawsuit along with Phillies slugger Ryan Howard. Zimmerman shared some insight into how he made the decision to take Al-Jazeera to court.

"It was an easy decision for me to do it because I’m fortunate enough to have the resources," Zimmerman said of filing the suit. 

"It’s really, really hard to win these suits, but I think it’s my responsibility not only to clear my name but if I do this and whether I win or lose on the defamation suit whatever it is, even if it gets to a trial, I sort of felt a responsibility because I am able to fight it that maybe if this stops this from happening to just one person after me, then it’s worth it."

Deciding to sue Al-Jazeera, however, does have its drawbacks. For one, Zimmerman has essentially waived his personal privacy in many regards and could open up members of his family and business associates to scrutiny.

"By taking these actions I’m basically letting them into all aspects of my life, unfortunately, that nobody should have access to but now they do. Whether that’s right or wrong, that’s for everyone else to decide. It’s one of those things where privacy is really not privacy anymore for me, and it’s unfortunate that I have to do that, but that’s the steps I’m willing to take to show people that I have nothing to hide," he said.

As for what could be investigated, Zimmerman shared some details.

"Anything. Every e-mail you've ever sent. All of your phone records. Those are two pretty invasive things. Anything that you think you wouldn't want people to see, whether you've ever been involved in anything or not. Anything with your family... Also, when the trial starts, obviously stating things under oath. If you don't tell the truth when you do that, obviously the consequences - I didn't go to law school - but the consequences are very big. I don't really know a stronger way to express myself. I don't think there is a stronger way to express myself in this country than that."

Zimmerman laments the fact he has to prove his innocence in the court of public opinion, as well. Zimmerman noted how with social media and the internet, stories can take on a life of their own, no matter the validity.

"There's gotta be a line drawn somewhere. There's gotta be a way for innocent people to not be basically be proven guilty in the public opinion and then have to fight to be innocent. It's supposed to be the other way around in this country," he said.

[RELATED: Harper says Zim & Werth still Nats leaders: 'I don't think I'm a leader']

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Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

$500 million.

That number is so hard to wrap your brain around, but it's a number a lot of professional baseball players may soon start seeing on their contracts.

One player who could be the first to see that amount within the next year is Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper.

Harper will become a free agent in 2018 and people are already projecting his market value at close to $500 million, if not more.

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton signed a contract back in 2014 for 13 years, $325 million, holding the league record.

For Fancy Stats writer Neil Greenberg, $500 million is a bargain for someone of Harper's caliber.

"Harper is every bit as good [as Stanton] but he's also young," Greenberg told the Sports Junkies Friday.

"I mean, we don't see a player that's as good as Harper, that's as young a Harper, hit the market almost ever I want to say. You look at how many years of his prime he has left and then even if you start to give him just the typical aging curb off of that prime, he's probably worth close to 570 million dollars starting from 2019 and going forward ten years. And that includes also the price of free agency going up and other factors."

Harper, who is only 25 years-old, brings more to a team than just talent. He's one of the most recognizable figures in baseball, bringing tremendous marketing opportunities to an organization. Greenberg dove deeper into how that will increase his market value.

"And that's just for the on-the-field product. You talk about all the marketing that's done around Bryce Harper [and] what he does for the game. In my opinion, and based on the numbers that I saw, he's a bargain at $500 million."

Don't we all wish someone would say $500 million is a bargain for us?

After crunching the numbers, the biggest takeaway for Greenberg is the return on investment the Nationals have gotten out of Harper.

"Like if you look at his wins above replacement throughout his career, he's given you 200 million dollars in value for 21 million dollars in cash and he's due what another 26 or 27 million this year. I mean he's already given you an amazing return on investment."

"So, if you're the Nationals having - benefited from that - you know you have a little bit of, I guess, wiggle room in terms of maybe you're paying a little bit for past performance 'cause, you know, when a player is on arbitration in their early years they don't really get paid that much."

The Nationals still have Harper for one more season and many feel they need to make him an offer sooner than later. Whenever and whoever he gets an offer from, it's going to be a nice pay day for him.

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals has coasted to his third Cy Young Award and second straight in the National League.

Scherzer breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The honor was announced Wednesday on MLB Network.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit. He became the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs.

RELATED: WIETERS WILL RETURN TO NATS IN 2018 

Scherzer was 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and a league-leading 268 strikeouts for the NL East champion Nationals.

Kershaw has already won three NL Cy Youngs, and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts.

Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians easily won his second AL Cy Young Award earlier in the day. He got 28 of the 30 first-place votes, with Boston's Chris Sale second and Luis Severino of the New York Yankees third.

Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball.